Letters to the Editor - 02/09 - Syria vote, Education reform, Best of Twitter

Syria vote

[Re: Cameron will look back on this vote as a political blessing, Friday]
Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the fallout from last Thursday’s vote is the ineffectiveness the Conservative whips. They were clearly fairly confident of their chances earlier in the day, with reports suggesting that the panicked phone calls asking for support only began around midday. Why the early complacency? This question becomes all the more pressing considering that 81 Conservative MPs signed Andrew Bridgen’s letter to the Prime Minister before the summer recess expressing reservations about intervention.

Allan Hope

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Education reform

[Re: The coalition must fight to defend performance-related pay for teachers, Friday]
One of the most important aspects of the government’s education reform agenda is the aim to make it easier to fire poor teachers. The author is correct that performance-related pay would be an improvement, but research by Stanford University’s Eric Hanushek shows that bad teachers are by far the most damaging factor in determining educational achievement. Incentivising the good ones is important, but schools must be able to sack the worst teachers to raise standards.

Lloyd McDonald

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BEST OF TWITTER

Nobody answered the killer question: why would bombing Syria prevent chemical weapons use?
@RyanCPS

More bad news from the Bank: “loans to small and medium-sized enterprises decreased by £0.9bn.”
@notayesmansecon

Extraordinary that this is first time a Prime Minister has lost a vote over issue of war and peace since 1782.
@LucyRigby

Brazil and Indonesia hike rates to stabilise currencies. But best way to win over market is stronger growth.
@DrGerardLyons